Removed: Women of the Bauhaus During the NS Period – Persecution and Exile

Removed: Women of the Bauhaus During the NS Period – Persecution and Exile

In cooperation with the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, the 21st interdisciplinary, international conference of the Women in Exile working group from the Society for Exile Research will take place at the Bauhaus Dessau from 28 to 30 October 2011 on the topic of “Removed: Women of the Bauhaus during the NS period – persecution and exile.”

The history of the former women students and teachers at the Bauhaus in Weimar, Dessau and Berlin after 1933 has only been researched to a limited extent to date. This is now the subject of the conference, which places its emphasis on the questions about their artistic opportunities for and/or obstacles to development until 1933 and the violent ending in the NS period, as well as their experiences in exile. The goal of the conference is to be a reminder of the women artist’s work in the life stories of the Bauhaus women, as well as making visible their frequently overlooked contribution to the development of the Bauhaus and the arts that it influenced. The conference programme, which has been prepared by Adriane Feustel, Wolfgang Thöner and Inge Hansen-Schaberg, includes the following contributions:



Die Bauhäuslerin Otti Berger im Bauhaus Dessau, September 1932

Die Bauhäuslerin Otti Berger im Bauhaus Dessau, September 1932

After a word of greeting by the Director of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, Philipp Oswalt, Inge Hansen Schaberg (Rotenburg) will speak about “The educational idea of the Bauhaus and its materialisation in the artistic activities of women” and give an introduction to the topic of the conference. Rahel Feilchenfeldt (Munich) will talk about the Jewish women artists at the Bauhaus and their portrayal in Hedwig Brenner’s four-volume catalogue of Jewish Women in the Fine Arts (1998–2011). This will be followed by the opportunity to have a conversation with Hedwig Brenner (Haifa).

In the Saturday morning section, the professional developments of the women weaving artists, textile designers/designers and an architect will be presented: Elizabeth Otto (Buffalo) will report on “Marianne Brandt’s departure from the Bauhaus during National Socialism,” Anja Baumhoff (Loughboroug) and Irene Below (Werther) will speak about “Impeded careers in the turmoil of the times: Benita Koch-Otte and Gunta Stölzl” and Burcu Dogramaci (Munich) will discuss the “Bauhaus women artists and the textile designer Margaret Leischner in British exile” and Esther Bánki (Den Burg/Texel) will discuss the architect Zsuzsanna Bánki, 1912–1944.

On Saturday afternoon, the first topic will be the women ceramic artists when Ursula Hudson-Wiedenmann (Hurstpierpoint) examines “The second visit to the Haël Workshops of the Greta Pottery with new findings on the expulsion of Grete Heymann-Loebenstein” and Cheryl Buckley (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) speaks about “Authenticity, tradition and studio ceramics: Women émigré potters in the 1950s and 1960s.” This will be followed by the women photographers and their work after the expulsion: Ricarda Schwerin and her work in Jerusalem will be presented by Ines Sonder (Potsdam). Mercedes Valdivieso (Lleida) will lecture on Grete Stern and Ellen Auerbach in American exile. Angela Weber and Christoph Otterbeck (Marburg) will present Grete Stern’s photographic documentation of the indigenous cultures of the Gran Chaco (1958-1964).

Wolfgang Thöner, director of the collection at the Bauhaus Dessau, will report on the “Preservation and updating of Modernity in the archive of the Dessau Bauhaus” and introduce the exhibits by the women Bauhaus artists.

On Sunday morning, the focus will be on the Bauhaus legacy and the culture of remembrance: Robin Schuldenfrei (Berlin) will speak about “Lucia Moholy’s Bauhaus photography and the construction of the Bauhaus legacy” and Astrid Volpert (Berlin) will discuss “Hannes Meyer’s strong women in Moscow – Margarete Mengel, Lotte Beese, Lena Meyer-Bergner and Leonie Neumann.” An overview of current research on the women artists of the Bauhaus in exile during the NS period will be presented by Magdalena Droste (Berlin) and the conference will end with a lecture by Marianne Kröger (Frankfurt a.M.) on Tony Simon-Wolfskehl and the Bauhaus culture in Belgian exile.

Among other things, the conference programme will be supplemented by a sightseeing tour that focuses on the Dessau Masters’ House in the example of the Klee-Kandinsky House (including the Carl Marx Exhibition) and the Knarrberg Settlement by Leopold Fischer. It has been organised under the direction of Wolfgang Thöner and Irene Below.

Wolfgang Thöner

Information on conference registration and organisational questions will be published in the conference flyer under starting in August 2011.


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